Secrets of Consultancy: Thoughtful Conversations with Four Consultants Who Make It Work

Thinking about leaving your job and working for yourself? So did we. Intimidated by the process and prospects of losing that steady paycheck? So were we. Now we'd never go back.

For those of us who have taken the plunge, the questions don't end when you hang up your shingle. In fact, they have only just begun. Thinking of hiring subcontractors? We've been there. Wondering if you should hire staff? Yup. Some of us have staff, others do not. Time to move out of the home office? Outsource nonessential functions (e.g., accounting, marketing)? Having trouble staying motivated? We had those questions too, and we have each answered them in different ways so you get the benefit of different perspectives.

This panel discussion draws on the experience and wisdom of four consultants from across the country and in different sized markets with 7 to more than 15 years' experience as grant consultants to answer your questions about starting, growing, or maintaining a consulting practice. During this interactive session, we will share our experiences and answer your questions based on those experiences.

While we don't promise to have all of the answers, we hope you leave the session having achieved the following learning objectives: (1) Understand different paths to a consulting career; (2) Know some of the things you should consider when deciding whether or not to become a consultant; (3) Realize the importance of networking and mentoring when starting and throughout your consulting career; and (4) Develop strategies to stay sane, profitable, happy and avoid burnout in your consulting career.

This panel discussion, geared toward consultants and those thinking of consulting either full- or part-time, meets the GPA competency of organizational development as it pertains to grant seeking and the work of professional consultants and practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers.

GPC Competencies Addressed:
Organizational development as it pertains to grant seeking
Practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers

A frequent presenter at GPA and AFP conferences, Linda has more than 30 years of grant writing experience in higher education and in multiple sectors as a consultant for the last 7 years. During this time, she has helped nonprofits in health care, higher education, human services, K-12 education, recreation, the arts and more raise more than $6 million in grant funding in addition to developing strategic and fundraising plans and consulting on fundraising campaigns and board development.

Kim Joyce, GPC, began her career in education and has 10+ years of grant writing experience. As a seasoned professional, she provides grant writing services and trainings. Kim's clients provide services in the areas of health and human services, education, at-risk youth, homelessness, healthcare, and the arts, and have included nonprofits, charter schools, faith-based organizations, tribes, and units of local government. Kim is a member of the GPA - Arizona Founding Chapter and AFP.

Kerri has consulted for more than 70 nonprofits and worked for nonprofits for seven years prior to founding Mollard Consulting in 2003. The company has grown significantly in the last three years in services offered and employees. Her mantra for the company is "be healthy" - build financial health through effective fundraising strategies, organizational health through planning, and sector health through capacity building as we believe that thriving nonprofits are essential for a healthy society.

Andrea M. Crawford is the president of AM Crawford, Inc., a full-service, research, fundraising and nonprofit communications firm which helps small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations develop strategic plans; market to individuals; and find and secure funds from family and corporate foundations and local, state and federal government agencies. Ms. Crawford lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.